10 Best Alternatives to Melatonin for a Good Night's Sleep
- Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for fostering calmness and sleep (1).
- Passionflower can aid in calming the nervous system and promoting sleep by increasing GABA activity (5).
- Ashwagandha makes a great substitute for melatonin because it helps the body adapt to stressors (6).
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? There are many options available if you've tried melatonin and found it ineffective or to have unpleasant side effects. In this article, we'll examine the top ten melatonin substitutes that won't have any negative effects on your ability to get a good night's sleep. We have you covered for everything from natural supplements to relaxation methods. Put an end to your tossing and turning and say hello to a restful night's sleep. We offer options that are tailored to your particular requirements, whether you're looking for a temporary fix or a long-term sleep aid. In order to find the ideal remedy for you, let's explore the world of melatonin substitutes. If you're ready to wake up feeling revitalized and alert. Prepare to reclaim your nights and have the heavenly sleep you deserve!
What is melatonin?
The pineal gland in the brain produces the hormone melatonin naturally. It is essential for controlling the circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle. The body produces more melatonin in the evening to tell us it's time to go to bed, and less melatonin in the morning to help us wake up feeling rejuvenated.
For people with insomnia, jet lag, and sleep disorders, melatonin supplements are frequently used as a sleep aid. It is sold over-the-counter in many nations and is typically regarded as safe for occasional use. Melatonin may not work for everyone, or it may have unfavorable side effects like headaches, vertigo, or daytime sleepiness. If this describes you, don't worry; there are many alternatives that can help you get better sleep without the negative effects.
The benefits and drawbacks of using melatonin
Melatonin can be helpful for many people, but it's important to comprehend both its advantages and disadvantages. The ability of melatonin to regulate the sleep-wake cycle is one of its main benefits. You can help synchronize your internal body clock and enhance the quality of your sleep by taking a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is advantageous for travelers because it is frequently used to reduce the effects of jet lag.
There are a few possible negatives to take into account, though. Since each person's response to the hormone is unique, melatonin may not be effective for everyone. Melatonin may not be effective for everyone in terms of helping them fall asleep or stay asleep all night. Furthermore, melatonin supplements may have unwanted effects like headaches, vertigo, or daytime sleepiness. Before using melatonin as a long-term sleep aid, it is best to speak with a healthcare provider because the long-term effects of this supplement have not been thoroughly studied.
10 Alternatives to melatonin for a good night's sleep
Here are the 10 best natural alternatives to melatonin that will definitely help you in your quest of searching for the best sleeping aid that works for you. Keep reading to learn more.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for fostering calmness and sleep (1). It assists in controlling brain neurotransmitters like GABA, which calms the nervous system. Insomnia and poor sleep quality have been linked to low magnesium levels. You may be able to improve your sleep by increasing your magnesium intake through diet or supplements.
Leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are foods high in magnesium. If you decide to take a magnesium supplement, the body can readily absorb magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate. If necessary, start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Finding the proper dosage is important because too much magnesium can have a laxative effect.
Magnesium has numerous other health advantages besides aiding in better sleep. It promotes bone health, helps with muscle relaxation, and lessens stress. You may be able to enhance the quality of your sleep and your general health by incorporating magnesium into your bedtime routine.
2. Valerian Root
For centuries, people have used valerian root as a sedative and sleep aid. It has substances that raise GABA levels in the brain, calming the nervous system and promoting sleep. There are many ways to consume valerian root, including tablets, capsules, and herbal tea.
Valerian root may speed up falling asleep and enhance the quality of your sleep, according to research (2). People who experience insomnia or sleep problems because of anxiety may also benefit from it. Although valerian root is generally thought to be safe, some people may encounter slight side effects like headache, wooziness, or upset stomach. It is advised to begin with a small dose and gradually increase it as necessary. It's best to speak with a healthcare professional before using any supplement, as with any dietary addition.
Your mind and body can be relaxed by incorporating valerian root into your bedtime routine, which will help you get a good night's sleep. To experience its sedative effects, try making a cup of valerian root tea or taking a valerian root supplement an hour before bed.
The calming effects of the fragrant herb lavender are well known. It has been used for centuries as an all-natural treatment for problems with anxiety, stress, and sleep. Lavender's aroma has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure and heart rate, fostering relaxation and getting the body ready for sleep (3).
Lavender can be incorporated into your sleep routine in a number of ways. You can use lavender essential oil by putting a few drops in a warm bath or diffusing it in your bedroom. As an alternative, you can use items that have a lavender scent, like pillow sprays or sleep masks. Additionally, some people discover that a cup of lavender tea before bed helps to unwind their body and mind.
Although lavender is generally safe for most people, some might be allergic to its scent. If you encounter any negative effects, stop using it and try a different solution. Overall, adding lavender to your bedtime ritual can help you relax and set the mood for a restful night's sleep.
A common herb known for its calming effects is chamomile. It has been utilized for many years to encourage relaxation, lessen anxiety, and enhance sleep. The most popular way to consume chamomile is probably in tea, which can be a calming addition to your bedtime routine.
Apigenin is one of the chamomile plant's constituents that binds to specific brain receptors to induce drowsiness and relaxation (4). Before bed, sipping chamomile tea can help you relax and get ready for sleep. It's important to keep in mind that chamomile may not be effective for everyone and that individual reactions may differ.
If you do decide to try chamomile, choose a premium brand or think about making your own with dried flowers. Steer clear of chamomile tea blends that include caffeine or other stimulants. A cozy and soothing way to unwind before bed is to sip on a warm cup of chamomile tea.
An herb called passionflower is frequently used to ease anxiety and encourage relaxation. Due to its calming properties, it has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Like valerian root, passionflower works by raising GABA levels in the brain. Passionflower can aid in calming the nervous system and promoting sleep by increasing GABA activity (5).
There are several ways to consume passionflower, including tinctures, teas, gummies, and tablets. It's critical to adhere to the suggested dosage and seek medical advice before using, particularly if you take any medications or have underlying health conditions.
Including passionflower in your bedtime routine can help reduce stress and encourage calmness, which makes it simpler to get to sleep and stay asleep. To experience passionflower's sedative properties, think about consuming passionflower tea or a supplement.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, has long been used to ease stress and encourage relaxation. For people who struggle with sleep issues caused by stress or anxiety, it makes a great substitute for melatonin because it aids the body in adapting to stressors and rebalancing the nervous system (6).
Ashwagandha is offered in a variety of dosages, including tinctures, powders, and capsules. To ensure potency and quality, choose a standardized extract when selecting an ashwagandha supplement. If necessary, start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Always speak with a medical expert before beginning a new supplement.
In addition to helping people sleep better, ashwagandha has a number of other health advantages, such as boosted mood, improved cognitive function, and decreased inflammation. You can address both your sleep issues and general well-being by incorporating ashwagandha into your daily routine.
7. Sleep-friendly diet
Your diet can have a big impact on how well you sleep. A few foods and drinks can help you unwind and control your sleep-wake cycle. An efficient and all-natural way to enhance your sleep without relying on melatonin supplements is to include foods that promote restful sleep in your diet.
Especially helpful for sleep are foods high in tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into melatonin and serotonin (7). Turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, bananas, and dairy products are a few examples. Furthermore, magnesium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can aid in better sleep.
Avoiding stimulating foods and drinks right before bed is crucial. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and heavy meals should all be consumed in moderation as they can all affect how well you sleep. You can eat well and promote sound sleep patterns by establishing a diet that is sleep-friendly.
8. Exercise and physical activity
Regular physical activity and exercise can have a big impact on how well you sleep. Exercise of a moderate intensity, like brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, can help lessen anxiety, encourage relaxation, and enhance the quantity and quality of sleep (8).
It's crucial to time your exercise routine properly, though. It can actually have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep if you exercise too close to bedtime. To give your body time to relax before bed, try to finish your workout at least a few hours beforehand.
Along with aerobic exercise, adding relaxation drills like yoga or stretching to your routine can improve the quality of your sleep even more. These activities encourage rest, ease stress and muscle tension, and quiet the mind to get you ready for a good night's sleep.
9. Sleep hygiene practices
To get restful sleep, one must practice good sleep hygiene (9). A group of routines and behaviors that improve your sleeping environment and support sound sleep patterns are referred to as sleep hygiene. A key component of good sleep hygiene is creating a regular sleep schedule. Even on weekends, try to keep your bedtime and wakeup times consistent. This supports a regular sleep-wake cycle and regulates your body's internal clock.
Equally crucial is creating a sleeping-friendly environment. Ensure that it is cool, quiet, and dark in your bedroom. To block out any unwanted light, use eye masks or blackout curtains. To mute any distracting noises, think about using earplugs or a white noise generator. Before going to bed, it's important to avoid using electronics like televisions, tablets, and smartphones. These gadgets' blue light emissions have the potential to interfere with melatonin synthesis and cause sleep disturbances. Make up a relaxing bedtime routine that includes things like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or relaxing exercises.
You can create the ideal sleeping environment and lay the groundwork for a good night's sleep by putting these sleep hygiene practices into practice.
10. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
A structured program called cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) assists people in addressing the root causes of their sleep problems and forming wholesome sleep routines (10). It focuses on eradicating unfavorable attitudes and actions related to sleep and advancing relaxation methods.
A trained therapist typically conducts CBT-I, which involves several sessions. Techniques like sleep restriction, stimulus control, relaxation training, and cognitive therapy may be used in it. Improved sleep quality, a shorter time to fall asleep, and fewer nighttime awakenings are the main objectives of CBT-I.
Chronic insomnia has been successfully treated with CBT-I, which frequently offers long-term solutions without the use of drugs or supplements. Consider finding a licensed therapist who specializes in CBT-I if you have ongoing sleep problems.
Conclusion and final thoughts
There are many options available if you're looking for melatonin alternatives to enhance the quality of your sleep. There are many methods you can try to get a good night's sleep, from natural supplements like magnesium, valerian root, and passionflower, to lifestyle changes like working out and establishing good sleep hygiene habits.
It's crucial to keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for another, so it might take some trial and error to find the ideal substitute for you. A healthcare professional should also be consulted before beginning any new supplements or making significant changes to your sleep schedule.
You can put an end to sleepless nights and wake up feeling rejuvenated and energized by considering these alternatives and making sleep a priority. Take back your nights, put self-care first, and get the restful sleep you deserve. Happy dreams!
- Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–1169. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/
- Shinjyo, N., Waddell, G., & Green, J. (2020). Valerian Root in Treating Sleep Problems and Associated Disorders—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 25, 2515690X2096732. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515690x20967323 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7585905/
- Lillehei, A. S., Halcón, L. L., Savik, K., & Reis, R. (2015). Effect of Inhaled Lavender and Sleep Hygiene on Self-Reported Sleep Issues: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(7), 430–438. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2014.0327 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505755/
- Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. (2017). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 35, 109–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.09.010 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29154054/
- Guerrero, F. A., & Medina, G. M. (2017). Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep. Sleep Science, 10(3), 96–100. https://doi.org/10.5935/1984-0063.20170018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699852/
- Cheah, K. L., Norhayati, M. N., Husniati Yaacob, L., & Abdul Rahman, R. (2021). Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 16(9), e0257843. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0257843 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8462692/
- Binks, H., E. Vincent, G., Gupta, C., Irwin, C., & Khalesi, S. (2020). Effects of Diet on Sleep: A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 12(4), 936. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040936 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230229/
- Dolezal, B. A., Neufeld, E. V., Boland, D. M., Martin, J. L., & Cooper, C. B. (2017). Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: a Systematic Review. Advances in Preventive Medicine, 2017(1364387), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1364387 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/
- Yazdi, Z., Loukzadeh, Z., Moghaddam, P., & Jalilolghadr, S. (2016). Sleep Hygiene Practices and Their Relation to Sleep Quality in Medical Students of Qazvin University of Medical Sciences. Journal of Caring Sciences, 5(2), 153–160. https://doi.org/10.15171/jcs.2016.016 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923839/
- Rossman, J. (2019). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: An Effective and Underutilized Treatment for Insomnia. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 13(6), 544–547. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619867677 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6796223/